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Home Forums Existence of the Israelites in Egypt How long was the sojourn in Egypt? Reply To: How long was the sojourn in Egypt?

  • Ken Griffith

    April 22, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Petrovich’s work on the origin of Hebrew in the 12th Dynasty is probably one of the most important advances in Biblical archaeology this century. That being said, I think that his chronology would be substantially improved by recognizing the famine occurred under Senusret I, not Senusret III. His preference for Senusret III seems to be based on using Thiele’s date for the Exodus in 1446 and then counting back 400 years to 1846, and finding which 12th Dynasty ruler in the conventional chronology fits. It would make more sense to make historical comparisons to match the details of which 12th Dynasty ruler made Joseph his vizier.

    The name Senusret on the Ezbet Rushdi stele does not include the Horus name, which means this stele could date from year 5 of Senusret I, II, or III. The question is why Rushdi attributed this stele to Senusret III rather than either of his predecessors.

    If this stele is indeed what Petrovich thinks it is, then for a number of reasons, year 5 of Senusret I is a better fit.

    1. Amenemhat I was assassinated, resulting in an investigation. This is partly recorded in the story of Sinhue. Joseph was thrown into prison with the baker and the butler (cupbearer). The fact that the two food providers to Pharaoh were investigated, and one, the cupbearer, was vindicated, suggests that Joseph was in prison with the suspects of attempted assassination by poison. Therefore, Joseph would have been raised to the viziership in the second year of Senusret I, as argued by Ted Stewart.

    2. One of the officials of Senusret I named Ameni, (Courville, p. 134) states in his tomb: “No one was unhappy in my days, not even in the years of famine, for I had tilled all the fields in the nome of Mah, up to its southern and northern frontiers. Thus I prolonged the life of its inhabitants and preserved the food which it produces. No hungry man was in it. I distributed equally to the widow as to the married woman. I did not prefer the great to the humble in all that I gave away.” [Emphasis added to the four criteria of the Biblical record.]

    3. An Egyptian record states that Lake Moeris was connected to the Nile River, via the canal, in year 9 of Senusret I. (Stewart, p. 124)

    4. Since Amenemhat I was assassinated, it would make sense that his son Senusret I would build a temple in his memory. That temple is where this stele was discovered. If Joseph’s dream-reading ability was discovered through the investigation into the assassination of Amenemhat, it would also make sense for Joseph to be involved in building the memorial temple for him.

    Petrovich assumes (minute 53) that Sa-Sobek of the Ezbet Rushdi stele later became Sobek-Emhat who was buried next to the temple of Senusret III. However, Sobek, the crocodile god of the Nile, was an extremely common name root in the 12th and 13th dynasties. There is no evidence to directly equate Sa-Sobek of the Ezbet Rushdi stele as the same person as Sobek-Emhat, other than assumption.

    Down identified Amenemhat IV as possibly being Moses. His tomb was left unfinished. This fits the known facts fairly well, because Sobeknefrue his “sister” ruled four years after his disappearance, and then the 12th dynasty died without an heir. This suggests that Sobeknefrue had no other children, which would fit the Bible’s adopted mother of Moses, who was barren. If Amenemhat IV was Moses, then the Exodus occurred 40 years after his disappearance. He disappeared four years before the 12th Dynasty ended with no heir.

    Stela Cairo 205 reads “Year 10 of Senusret I = Year 30 of Amenemhat I.” (Stewart, p. 80) Therefore Senusret’s sole-rex started in Amenemhat’s Year 20.

    The Turin Canon gives 213 years for the length of the 12th dynasty. If we count back from the death of Sobeknefrue, and add 34 years (40-6), and then subtract the sole-reign of Amenemhat I (10) and the first eleven years of Senusret I, we get about 216 years from the arrival of Jacob in the second year of the famine in the eleventh year of Senusret I until the Exodus, 34 full years after the death of Sobeknefrue. This fairly closely matches the 215 year short-sojourn in Egypt, found by Ussher and Jones.

    A Revised 12th Dynasty Chronology

    In this reconstruction:

    Sesostris I / Senusret I was Moeris, the pharaoh of Joseph, who began the canal projects to irrigate Egypt and capture the flood waters in the lake at Fayum. (The canal project to Fayum continued all the way until Amenemhat IV, the last male ruler of the dynasty.) According to Ginzberg, Sesostris I died at the age of 177, about 32 years after he made Joseph vizier.

    Joseph continued as vizier for Amenemhat II and Sesostris II, and was probably the author of the wisdom literature of Ptah Hotep.

    Sesostris III was born after Joseph died, so he was the Pharaoh “who knew not Joseph” and he made the decree to slay the firstborn in the year he came back from his conquest of the Levant, 86 years before the Exodus. The Legends of the Jews mentions that the Pharaoh of the Oppression held council about the growing strength of the Hebrews 130 years after Jacob entered Egypt, (Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, Vol. II, §21) and after that council, the Oppression lasted 86 years until the Exodus. (Ginzberg, Vol. II, §28)

    Amenemhat III was also a Pharaoh of the Oppression but apparently halted the policy of killing babies when his daughter adopted baby Moses. His daughter Sobeknefrue was married to Kenephres, according to Artapanus, who can probably be identified as Ka-nefer-re Sobek-hotep of Dynasty 13. She was barren and adopted Moses.

    Sobeknefrue, daughter of Amenemhat III, reigned a little less than twelve years total, eight of which were co-reign with her “son” Amenemhat IV.

    Amenemhat IV was Moses, who co-reigned with Sobeknefrue the first eight years of her reign before he fled Egypt.

    In this reconstruction, which obviously contradicts the conventional chronology of Egypt, I have Dynasties 5-6 reigning in Memphis in parallel to 11-12 reigning in Thebes, though they had a court at Zoan in the Delta. Pepi II became the high king over Egypt from the death of Sobeknefrue, and he died shortly before God called Moses to return to Egypt. So his son, Merenre II, ended up being the Pharaoh killed in the Red Sea, while Concharis / Ka-ankh-ra Sobekhotep, of the 13th dynasty was also killed, possibly in the night of the angel of death, in his 5th year, according to the Book of Sothis.

    Unas of Dynasty 5 Also Mentioned the Famine

    Counting back from Merenre II about 215 years comes to Unas, the last king of Dynasty 5 in Memphis, who also recorded a 7 year famine in his reign. This also helps to confirm that Dynasties 5-6 of Memphis were parallel to 11-12 in Thebes, and they both experienced and noted the same seven year famine.

    It also fits with Abraham

    Counting back from the death of Merenre II by 430 years brings us to the 5th year of Khufu, who would be one of three kings in Egypt when Abram visited there.

    Dynasties 3-8 all ruled in Memphis consecutively, with a three year civil war between Dynasties 4 and 5.

    Manetho states the 6th dynasty lasted 203 years (Waddell, pp. 55, 57) thus ending in 1479 BC, twelve years after the death of Merenre II.

    According to the Turin Canon, the 5th Dynasty lasted 141 years. And the 4th dynasty lasted 100 years before the War of Usurpation, which lasted two years.

    Summing these, and subtracting the twelve years of Nitocris, we find that Khufu’s reign began 435 years before the death of Merenre II in the Exodus, which puts Abraham’s visit to Egypt in the fourth year of Khufu’s reign. And that also puts the accession of Khufu in the same year as Chedorlaomer’s first campaign, which may have reached Egypt. Thus the 430 years of the “sojourn of the children of Israel in Misrayim” matches up in both the Bible and the Egyptian record.

    Four Paths for Old and Middle Kingdoms

    Darrell K. White and I argue that the Old and Middle Kingdom of Egypt was one period from 2191 to 1491 BC, where Misraim’s sons built five cities in Egypt, each of which had its own dynasty. The Monarchy began in 2191 BC with the Dispersion, but the founding of Thebes and Thinis were in 2188 BC, and Memphis was founded 28 years after the Dispersion in the year of the War of Unification depicted on the Narmer Palette.

    Thinis – Dynasties 1-2

    Dynasties 1 reigned in Thinis for 263 years, and using Eratosthenes’ 224 year duration for Dynasty 2, it would have ended after the last year of Joseph’s famine in 1702/1701. Since a famine is attributed to the reign of Beby, the last king of Dynasty 2, this appears to be the same famine as that of Joseph. (Courville, Vol. 1, pp. 135-137, 203, 205)

    Memphis – Dynasties 3-8

    Dynasties 3-6 reigned in Memphis, which was built in the 28th year of Menes/Misraim. The father of the 3rd Dynasty is generally accepted as Khasekhemwy, or Sekhem-Ka. Courville identifies Khasekhemwy as the same person as Kenkenes of the first dynasty. (Courville, Vol. 1, pp. 166-182) This places the start of the 3rd dynasty in Memphis at or near the end of his reign of 31 years in Thinis in about 2036 BC.

    Dynasties 7-8, also at Memphis, were after the Exodus during the Amalekite period.

    Herakleopolis – Dynasties 9-10

    Dynasties 9 reigned in Herakleopolis from 2188 for 408 years until its defeat by Thebes, at the start of Dynasty 11 in 1780. Dynasty 10 continued in Herakleopolis under Theban rule for another 204 years until the return of Sesostris III from his Levant campaign. Sesostris III is known to have “reorganized” Egypt, and it appears he ended this dynasty in the same year he decreed the slaughter of the infants, which was 1577 BC, 86 years before the Exodus.

    <b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Thebes – Dynasties 11-12

    Dynasties 11-12 reigned originally in Thebes, but ended about 34 years before the Exodus. Dynasty 12 began 213 + 34 + 1491 = 1738 BC. Dynasty 11 lasted 43 years from the defeat of Dynasty 9 at Herakleopolis until Amenemhat I usurped the throne starting Dynasty 12. Thus 1738 + 43 = ~1781 for the beginning of Dynasty 11.

    <b style=”font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit;”>Dynasty 13 as the viziers in Thebes

    Manetho states the 13th Dynasty had 60 kings who ruled from Thebes for 453 years. (Verbrugghe, p. 138) We have a strong synchronism between Kenephres of Dynasty 13, and Sobekneferu of Dynasty 12, which allows us to place Dynasty 13 accurately.

    The Sothis King List places the end of Dynasty 12 about 34 years before the Exodus in 1526/1525 BC. It also specifies that the start of Queen Sobekneferu’s (Ramesse Iubasse) co-reign started 39 years (Waddell, p. 237) before that in 1565/1564 BC.

    As Courville has shown, her reign probably started with her marriage to Kha-nefer-re Sobekhotep of Dyn. 13, the stepfather of Moses. (Courville, Vol. 1, p. 221.) It is stated that the Kings of Thebes in Dyn. 13 maintained an official residence in Thebes and Bubastis, near Zoan – the 12th dynasty Egyptian Capital, for 153 years and after that only at Bubastis. (Hoeh, Volume 1, Chapter Four, p. 18.)

    Kha-nefer-re, now spending his time at the capital with the Queen, apologizes that although born in Thebes, he no longer has time to spend in Thebes. 153 years before the first year of Sobekneferu in 1565/1564 BC is 1717/1716 BC. Thus the start of dynasty 13 can be placed shortly after the start of Sesostris I’s sole-reign in the very same year that Joseph became vizier.

    Courville argued that Joseph is found in Dynasty 13 as Yufni, whom he identifies as Mentuhotep, the vizier of Senusret I.

    “According to the usual rules, Joseph would appear as Yusef (just as Smith, transliterated into German would usually be Schmidt, rather than Shmitt or Schmitt)… The initial Y offers no problem. Many eastern languages give the sound of Y to names which appear in the Bible as beginning with J. I also discovered that the order of the hieroglyphs in Egyptian names is not necessarily fixed in the transliteration. For example, the name Useraten is also rendered as Senwosert by a rearrangement of the hierglyphs… Hence, the rendering Yunef may be just as correct as Yufni.
    “Then I observed that when the ancients transliterated Egyptian names, they sometimes interchanged the sounds “n” and “s”. For instance, the name “Sesostris” is also rendered “Sesonchis”, and the name “Unas” is also rendered “Uses.”

    “Putting all this together, the Y in Yufni represents the J in Joseph; uf represents “eph” in a different position; and “n” represents “s”. Yufni is indeed Joseph spelled by Egyptians.” (Courville, 1977)

    This suggests that Joseph was in fact the first “king” of Dynasty 13. The survival of Dynasty 13 for three centuries into the Hyksos Era might be explained by the fact that this “dynasty” was a dynasty of vizier-administrators who kept Egypt running for their Hyksos overlords.


    A plethora of facts support Joseph as the vizier of Sesostris I, but all the facts cannot fit unless we realize that Egypt was ruled by five different city-dynasties in the period from Abraham to Moses. This requires discarding the conventional chronology of Egypt, which cannot have the Old and Middle Kingdoms contemporary with each other.

    Having Joseph as the vizier of Sesostris I of Dynasty 12, but Merenre II as the 6th Dynasty Pharaoh who died in the Exodus 215 years later is utterly impossible in the conventional chronology, which has the 6th dynasty preceding the 12th dynasty by many centuries.

    This chronology has some similarities to those of Courville, Stewart, Down, and Velikovsky, but places all the Old and Middle Kingdom dynasties in parallel from the Dispersion in 2191 BC down to the Exodus in 1491 BC.